50 and 21 on the 31st.

I had this plan to throw a big party in New Zealand for my 50th birthday/New Years Eve 2006, but I had to cancel those plans, since I am not there. You can't miss your own party, can you now. Wherever I would celebrate this day, the reality is that there would always be people missing without whom, the party would not be complete. They happen to live on various continents because my life takes me around the world. As 'the flow' has washed it up, I happen to celebrate this day this year in a place without being surrounded by any familiar faces, dear ones or loved ones. I am not worried about being alone or feeling lonely funnily enough, unlike some weeks ago when I was still agonising where and with whom I ‘should’ spend New Years Eve. Not because I have offers of company, but because I am happy to keep myself company or rather be present with myself, and the relevance of this day. I don’t know how I reached that point, but I am glad I did.

Video still: fireworks, Lugo, Spain

The last time I celebrated my birthday in a foreign place without familiar faces was 21 years ago, also during a ‘gap year’. I had just arrived in Sydney, Australia from Indonesia. That night became a different re-birth of sorts, one that I will never forget. I ‘came out’ to myself. It just happened. I must have reached a point where being authentic (the acceptance of myself) was more important than the respect and acceptance of others. Time to surrender and express an authentic part of myself that was ignored for 29 years.

Video still: fireworks, Lugo, Spain

God knows how I managed to survive that long in 'the closet', but I did. Lack of courage I suppose, but more importantly lack of positive role modeling. I did not know gays who I admired. I could not relate to stereotypes such as Mr. Humpfries of British sit-com ‘Are You Being Served?’ or Dutch TV personality Albert Mol. If being gay meant being like them, then I was definitely not gay. Homophobic jokes and sentiments were not particularly encouraging either. The bottom line was that I did not feel safe to explore my sexuality, so I ignored that authentic part of myself until it became too painful and it could no longer be ignored.

Video still: fireworks, Lugo, Spain

From that birthday forward I knew that being gay or queer was the most natural thing for me; that it is part of my authentic self. For me being queer is a way of being that permeates all aspects of my being, including spirituality, just as being spiritual permeates being queer. This notion does not easily find a platform for expression or understanding in spiritual and queer circles.

Video still: fireworks, Lugo, Spain

Since that birthday in Sydney I celebrate both (re-) birthdays that conveniently fall on the same day. It is interesting that 50 and 21 are both regarded as milestone birthdays, which in my case fall on the same day, in the same year, while being on this quest to align myself more with my authentic (and inclusive) Self.

Angelic Slovakian Voice

What touched me most during my weekend visit to Vienna was the angelic voice of three blind Slovakian folk singers, busking in the main streets of downtown Vienna, filling the street with the vibrations from their hearts. Every few hundred meters there was life music to be heard from places like Serbia, Rumania, Slovakia, Hungary. My entire weekend was filled with music, in the metro, a concert hall, the churches, the streets, all free it happened to be.

I fell in love with Vienna, again! The last time I was in Vienna was 22 years ago, just graduated, I was taken there to be trained as a tourguide, everything was taken care off. I was totally broke, but I felt so rich, so fortunate. I hummed Strauss waltzes all the time I was there. It was magic. This time it was no different. Less broke, but definately not in a position to spend lots of money to attend cultural events. I did not need to. Again I felt priviledged, light, content, connected, at ease, at peace, filled with light. So happy to just wander and be.


My network is down this week and can't post till its fixed, best wishes for the festive season, Marcel

The Pink Bridge ( the long version)

Just as my lens saw it.

Forgot to tell you a funny sad story. I was invited to a birthday party recently for drinks (alcohol in all imaginable strengths and flavours). When I arrived only three people had arrived. No one made much effort to communicate with the foreigner. I could just hear their eyes talk: “what are you doing here”. When I was offered an alcoholic drink I informed the host that I don’t drink alcohol but l would love some of the mineral water on offer. Well their jaws just dropped to the floor with a bang bigger than the Big Bang that created the universe. They laughed, but I don't think they thought it was funny. It was more laughter from sheer shock and unease. I could see them trying to figure out how a human being could survive without alcohol. “It’s our folklore!!!” was uttered in disbelieve. Well, different people have different folklore.

Sometimes one does like the Romans do out of respect or for the sake of gaining acceptance, but since interacting with locals here is a struggle regardless, I no longer see a reason why I would want to consume alcohol when it makes me feel like shit. I am enjoying good health at the moment for which I worked hard and which I am not willing to sacrifice easily. So I decided to no longer drink a bit of alcohol with the locals for the sake of ‘fitting in’.

The party came alive when a few more people arrived. All with their jackets on ‘coz it was freezing in the room. Complaints about the cold were solved by offering more and stronger alcohol instead of turning up the central heating, 'coz alcohol warms you, yeah right! All the guests turned out to be border guards for crying out loud. If only you knew how much I rather not deal with them… How on earth did I end up in the same room with all these border guards? I just had to laugh. I made sure I did that quietly. I have had so many hassles in my life with border guards and immigration departments because for years I was in an international same-sex relationship.

Anyway, the party continues... more alcohol, me going hard out on the bubbly water. One of the guards spoke English well, but used it only to make fun at the expense of his very shy female colleague and me. It was not used to connect or communicate with the foreigner. He informed me loudly, for all to hear in perfect English, that she was still single and available hahaha. I choose to not react to his sexist sense of humor or shut him up by disclosing the fact that I am as queer as 'my grandma's underpants' (a quote I spotted recently that made me laugh). I wish I had because his embarrassing humour continued. I wondered if the man was gay, he sure could be according to my ‘gaydar’, a closeted one of course.

Till now it was a funny story, but here comes the sad part: I did not speak out because the next time I cross that bridge into Hungary I will be scrutinised by him or his colleagues and I know that I can be refused entry anytime if the border guard decides to do so. If there is an aspect of me that he dislikes or feels threatened by, such as my sexual orientation, he can find a way to stop me without ever having to justify why. I have no desire to provide anyone with such joys, which sadly means I have to go back into my dark closet, something I promised myself I would never do ever again when I came out. Sadly at the age of almost 50 I still feel pressured to do so at times. It feels very uncomfortable when you have to suppress an aspect of your being for the sake of acceptance and survival. I did not really care if that man accepted me, but his official position made all the difference.

I am not being discriminated against overtly as I don’t tell anyone that I am gay. Instinct tells me that being gay is not so cool in small town Slovakia. I only have to observe how keen they are on foreigners, let alone alcohol-free foreigners to figure out that GAY-alcohol-free foreigners will make them… well what? That is the question! Lack of respect for anything ‘different’ provides people with the excuse to harm those who seemingly deviated from their norm. Harm can come in many ways.

Thus far I have been very conscious of being an outsider and being here because I want to learn about the culture and life here. I am also here to build (virtual and cultural) bridges as the Bridge Guard Artist-in-Residence. So far the flimsy bridges that have sprouted are mostly one-way bridges, which makes me wonder at times why this town supports the residency. Locals love it when you create art or talk about the bridge in a way that acknowledges the cultural historical significance of the bridge, or that makes them feel proud of the bridge, but is that my role?

It makes me wonder how should I behave, what should I disclose; if I should challenge or confront? Am I here to be nice and polite so they may remember me as this nice artist from New Zealand, am I here to conform? Or am I here as an artist, a creator of something new, something different, the extra-ordinary. That would require me to be more radical and confront them with topics that are not necessarily comfortable, that challenge their belief system and their religious teachings. I know the answer, but how do I do it?

I don't have the energy yet to do so, as doing that requires strength, personal strength and also physical strength. Such processes can be very draining. I am definately not here to weaken myself, be it through symbolic consumption of alcohol or having to explain myself in the eye of heterosexual assumptions and sexism.

I am not aware of any gay members in the community here, no one here knows (as far as I know) that I am gay, nobody asks. I think people assume I am straight, judging by the enquiries from straight men about my opinion on Slovakian or Hungarian women, expecting me to have the same (predatory) eyes for women as they do.

People still wonder why there are gay ghettos around the world and big gay parties where, as they say, homosexuality is being ‘flaunted'. What is surpressed or oppressed seeks equalisation, ways to decompress. I am just realising now why all week I have been so fixated on getting away for the weekend, escape Sturovo for a breath of gay-friendly air in Vienna, silently hoping for some nurturing in the form of acceptance without the need to explain myself. I booked a gay B&B, crazy in this day and age, but I just wanted a break from possible heterosexual assumptions for one moment.

That the ‘party jokes’ affected me personally even though they were not intended to, signals to issues within me that still require processing. It reminds me of old hurts from years of discrimination encountered while being in an international same-sex relationship. It is time to let go of that, yet again; the next layer of the onion, till hopefully one-day, there will be no onion left. I choose for now to act on this awareness rather than re-act. All I need to conclude for now is that I have forgiveness to do (which does not equal condoning the injustice). I can act on that awareness on a private level rather than react by acting out on an interpersonal level with say the border guards, I must admit my ego was very tempted by the opportunity, but I did not have my camera with me to document the response. Anyway that would put me on the same footing as the border guard, so I rather stop the cycle. That is ultimately what I am responsible for and in control of.

Being authentic is still a dream for many. Why do humans want to squash other humans in their quest for authenticity? My hunch is that it is just too threatening: If they allow someone else to be authentic (let alone provide support), they will ultimately have to face their own authentic self.

(Homo)sexuality is not the only thing that is forced into the closet in people's lives. I have met a young lad in Sturovo who aspires to be an artist; not work 9 to 5, not start a family, not make babies and not get stuck in a rut like his parents. He is having a very difficult time surviving (emotionally and spiritually) in small town post-communist Slovakia. This young lad is ‘queer’ too in a way, queer as in ‘not fitting the norm’.

I hope that this young lad will read this story and see the pink bridge so that whenever he sees the boring green-grey bridge he will be able to imagine it to be pink or whatever colour(s) he needs it to be to inspire him to pursue the journey of his Soul and seek his authentic self.

Bridge Link

I just discovered that the link in the sidebar of this blog to the Bridgeguard blog did not work. So just letting you know that it is fixed. The last post there has some images of me acting as Saint Nicolas for my family in The Netherlands. They did not know I was in the country, let alone played Siant Nic. for the family. Was great fun. Ate all the goodies one is supposed to eat at that time of year and brought peanut butter back to Slovakia. Oh a little bit of comfort food cann be soooo good.

A beautiful day today, blue skies, crisp. Finally beautiful light after weeks of dull skies. I saw so much beauty today where before I only saw uglyness. The day ended with the dense fog you see above, rendering Hungary invisible. The warm weather (daily 10 degrees or more above average) of the last five weeks has cooled down.

Bridge to Amsterdam

While I was in The Netherlands I visited my cousin who is a very evolved healer. I told her that I felt a bit down in Slovakia but that my heart started to sing again (echoed by my voice) as soon as I walked through the streets of Amsterdam. She was not surprised and informed me that Amsterdam is a very spiritual place, which could explain the sudden lift in my mood. I had never looked at the city in that context. A miracle took place in Amsterdam in the medieval times, which is still remembered yearly with a silent pilgrimage walk through the city at night in March. Anything goes in Amsterdam, a well-known fact. The city can handle it all as it has such a high spiritual vibration.

When I got back in Slovakia and unpacked I discovered that I had accidently taken a photo of my aunty Rie who passed away last October. The photo was on a table with some of my belongings at my sister's place. Auntie Rie was from Amsterdam. My mother's family IS Amsterdam. With her photo now on my wall the essence of Amsterdam is back in this residence and in my life. If there are moment that I feel alone I only have to look at her photo to remind myself that I am not. I know I never am, but my ego enjoys a sulk now and then, otherwise I will never get throught those big jars of peanut butter that I brought back from Holland, eh!


Christmas tree in Bratislava

Same question, different year: what to do for the holidays?

Seeing everything lit up for the holidays in Bratislava last weekend made me realise how close Christmas, New Years and last but not least my (50th) birthday are getting. It has never been my favourite time of the year, too much food ( no good for me), alcohol (even worse) and obligations and yet, not being part of it feels very awkward, uncomfortable and emphasises loneliness. I just wish it would pass unnoticed, but it doesn't, no matter how much I would like to ignore the 'festive season' it bugs me, makes me restless and irritable rather than peaceful. There is a lot of resistance in me to just surrender and be part of it in any way, I have no idea why. There is an urge to raise my hand and say: but... but... but... But what is it that I want to say? What is my protest?

Why can't I just surrender and celebrate? I do not know. I am at a loss, every year. I always feel better as soon as the 1st of January arrives, but that only lasts till the following December, as no resolution has been arrived at in the mean time.

This year I feel the added pressure to figure out what I want to do for my 50th birthday. I would like to do something, you know, 50, the big five-o, what better excuse does one need to do something unusual and spoil oneself? But I can't think of anything, isn’t that weird? The ‘spoiling oneself’ may be a nice idea, but seems to belong to ego territory of a child and not be long lasting. What would my soul want? Probably nothing, probably just wants to Be, or does it?

The Green Grass

View from the Slovak side of the basilica of Esztergom, Hungary

The week before last was not so good. With a spine 'stuck' in various places, sleeping had become a restless affair with tossing and turning and never being comfortable. The weather had been grey, bleak and cold. Lack of sleep was having an effect on my moods. The lack of response by local people was getting to me as well. Almost everyone looks chronically depressed, aloof and unfriendly.

Last Friday I went hunting for a chiropractor. Called here and there and everywhere in Bratislava, Slovakia and Budapest Hungary. In the end with the help of a man next door in the town's office was able to help and locate someone in... Sturovo of course. No phone, but I went over and he was there. The premises looked a bit, well run down to say the least. The table looked more like a butchers block. Things just look different here I reminded myself, hoping that the looks were not an indication of the service offered. He spoke some German making communication possible. Next Monday he could see me, costs SK300 or NZ$15, awfully cheap for New Zealand standards. Again my mind was beginning to doubt his credentials... as long as he fixes my neck instead of breaking it. I had little choice.

That night I went to the thermal pools and had a massage, again cheap, butcher block like table with no space for the head to rest without twisting the neck. The guy worked up a sweat, working hard, slapping tons of cream loaded with 'deep heat' setting my back on fire. The whole exercise had little effect as he just repeated a limited amount of massage stokes over and over, without going deep or working on any specific area of tension. The experience put further doubt in my mind about the upcoming session on Monday with the chiropractor. I bought a decent desk chair on Saturday to improve my posture while sitting at the computer. That made an immediate difference.

Main street Sturovo with Basilica of Esztergom in the background

Monday 10am, on the butcher block of the 'csonkovacs' (Hungarian for bone-smith, a very trust encouraging term), with no questions asked he began with a massage, similar to the one on Friday, with the same fiery lotion but slightly better in quality. Hmmm did he think I came for a massage or a manipulation? I decide to wait and see and trust this man, again I did not have any options but surrender. Maybe he just wants to loosen my muscles before starting the amnipulation of the spine, which is really a good idea, something practitioners in New Zealand often do not make time for. After 15 minutes he said "Kein Spannung Heute", which means something like: no tension today. I took that as my cue to relax so he could manupulate my spine, and sure he did. Thank God he knew what he was doing and straightened out my spine, what a relief. I went back to the thermal baths that day to sooth my body.

Sleep improved every day since, pains decreased, and with some Feldenkais and other exercises I am now much better, maybe see him one more time. My mood improved too, and so did the weather. The Indian summer is back with sun and lunchtime temperatures in the low 20's. I can throw open the French doors of the studio and have lunch outside, ahhhh.

I am beginning to learn that the lack of willingness of locals to engage with me has nothing to do with me, or the fact that I am a stranger. It is just their way of being and is not due to a perceived lack of friendliness, politeness or the presence of chronic cultural depression. Things are just different and attaching the above labels is just a defensive ego strategy, trying to justify my way of being and maintain a sense of who ‘I’ am. Being able to recognise that the nature of the ‘mirror’ is just that, the nature of the ‘mirror’ and not a reflexion of me is a relief. My ego does no longer need to be defensive and judgemental of others in order for ‘I’ to just be me. For me to act like them would be unfriendly, inpolite and be depressing as it is not my nature ( so I like to believe). Now that I understand the situation, I am able to ‘tone down’ my ‘friendliness’ so I won't embarres locals without actually being unfriendly on the inside. My soul is still smiling.

View from the Slovak side of the basilica of Esztergom, Hungary at 4:30pm

I hope I will be able to maintain this mindset and no longer be affected by the perceived bleakness of this environment. All I need to do is look across the riverbank at night and enjoy this beautiful view to remind myself about the lesson learned this week. No longer is the grass greener on the other side of the border. I can see the 'green grass' and let it be part of me without the need to be there.

View from the Slovak side of the basilica of Esztergom, Hungary at night

Every week I discover more delicious things in the shops. I found 2 packets of Dutch coco, which I hoarded straight away. The local coco is much weaker, and yesterday I came home with fresh basil, chives and parsley plants, yeahhhh fresh greens! It was the first time I saw the plant for sale. Buy while you can is still very much a necessity as who knows when it will be on the shelves again.

This weekend I am having my first visitor, Mala from New Zealand, who will ‘surf my couch’. Something I am looking forward to.

The Mária Valéria Bridge Guard Log, a new blog.

Video still: the bridge at dusk.

The Mária Valéria Bridge between Stúrovo, Slovakia, and Esztergom, Hungary, was first built in 1895. People destroyed the bridge in 1919 (for 7 years) and in 1944 (for 57 years). It was longer unusable than usable until it was rebuilt in 2001. I am the 7th Bridge Guard at the Residential Art/Science Centre in Stúrovo, Slovakia. The Bridge Guard Residency was established with the aim to mentally protect the bridge. It is my duty as the Bridge Guard to ‘protect’ the Mária Valéria Bridge, by building virtual bridges, cross and move boundaries, in or through my work. The idea being that as long as new connections are created, boundaries are (re-) moved and destruction of the actual bridge by people is less likely. In addition I am expected to record my daily observations of the bridge, which you will find on The Mária Valéria Bridge Guard Log blog. I choose to blog the Log for it’s potential to mentally connect as many people as possible from all over the world to this relatively unknown bridge thus building virtual bridges. Observations of the bridge, its environment, the two sides it connects, and my connections with the site will be documented in text and photography (digital, and video stills).

Pool of Angels, a new blog

Image: Cover of: Pool of Angels, a book by Mark Suntres.

As part of my work here at the Artist-in-Residency in Sturovo I have blogged the above book Pool of Angels by Mark Suntres from Chicago. Mark is one of the many talented artists with intellectual disabilities that I have worked with over the years. This book contains Mark's story and as such is quite unique in a world where literature by people with intellectual disabilities is scarse.

The book is the result of an international collabotarion between Mark Suntress in Chicago,U.S.A., my colleague Brooke Dallimore from Art Compass, Wellington, New Zealand and myself Chicago/Wellington. Please take the time to read Mark's story and view the beautiful pages, you won't regret it.

Chilling Change

Friday 28 October
Temperature: 25C/75F
View of my residence (I know, such a humble abode)
Waka(Maori for canoe) ready in case the Danube floods.

Friday 3 November (one week later)
Temperature -2C/30F
Forget about the waka, dig out the skates.


Digital image: Sturovo

The local cemetery
Into a ocean of flowers
Lit at night
A fairy playground
Where spirits can happily roam.

Digital image: Sturovo

The Russian war graves
Next plot over...
Who wants to be a soldier?

Digital image: Sturovo


This is the studio from where I am working at the moment. From here, with the internet connection working, I can easily and confidently connect to the greater world. The next challenge is to connect with people in the sleepy village of Sturovo without much of a common language. I do not stand much chance to become fluent in Hungarian or Slovac in 6 months, I hope that visual language will enable me to build a bridge between me and my neighbours.

El Camino De Santiago: The Journal

Video still: 38 days of being mirrored by El Camino

On the 9th September 2006 I headed for St. Jean Pied de Port, a small town in the French Pyrenees, to walk 764 km to Santiago De Compostella in western Spain. This walk is an ancient catholic pilgrimage walked by thousands for religious, spiritual and/or recreational reasons. I had 38 days to get there.

Walking that far is not quite recreation for me, neither am I a practicing catholic, but I did hope that walking ‘El Camino’ would somehow bring spiritual and transformational benefits. I had no idea what those benefits would be, if and how they would eventuate.

For the next 38 days I will publish one post per day about my experience of being on ‘El Camino’. I will attempt to convey this experience using text and images of video stills and soft pastel drawings made during the 38 days that I was on my way to the bones of Saint James.

To view the 38 posts please click here to view the specially created blog: http://marcel-camino.blogspot.com

Marcel Baaijens

Monasterial Palace

Interior photo of my new residence in Slovakia.

Echoes of silence
By bare
White-washed Walls
2 feet thick
13 high
20 or more
There is no wind
Only thoughts
Echoes of silence

Auntie Rie, Tante Rie (1921-2006)

When Auntie Rie
Could not
Laugh too

It was her time
She was laid to rest
I hope
She will find her way
To the tunnel of Light

Video still: Lourdes

Flowing through Italy

I hope but dont always expect
My ego still tries to scare
Testing faith in the flow

'Couchsurfing' in Milano
With strangers
No more

I need to take care what I ask for now
As I may receive it
Just like that

Devine providence
The universe provides

Third Time Lucky

The first time I arrived in Santiago I went to hospital, but went back to continue El Camino.
The second time I arrived in Santiago I had to buy a new video camera, but went back to continue El Camino.
The third time I arrived in Santiago I completed El Camino De Santiago.

That was Saturday 14 October 2006 at KM stone 0.00.

It has been an interesting journey to say the least, but I have made it, and feel wonderfully exhausted and elated. Grateful for the privaledge to have been on El Camino, particularly after I had to stop walking for a while, I appreciated the opportunity even more. The ´process´ never stopped, wether I was walking or not.

In 14 days time, when I have arrived in Slovakia, I will begin to post immages and details about El Camino, one post for each day of El Camnino.

There is 5 weeks of writing, drawing, filming, thinking, dreaming, talking and intense experiences to digest. First though, celebrate tonight with a glass of wine and relax one more day in Santiago.

During the last week my house sale was finalised, which means I am a nomad now. With El Camino, my period of transition completed the journey can begin.

Finding Lost Luggage in Lugo

The Camino doesn´t let one ´rest´ for long!

Struggling a bit to stay put when there is so much to explore specially when you are within the Roman walls of a pedestrianised city. They have got their priority right here! My room looks right at the back of the roman wall.

I got feverish again last night. I think I have been for a the last few days each night but did not check, so I stayed put and watched Spanish TV till I could go to sleep. They dub all programmes here, no wonder there is so little comprehension of what it means when people do not speak your language. I am able to utter in my Spanish-ish that I don´t speak any, but that seems to have little effect as most people start a full and fast conversation of which I sometimes manage to get a bit of meaning. It is always well-meant and kind, wish I was a bit more fluent, but I understand the concept that people are just genuinly nice here. I manage to reply at times in a mix of Spanitianofranco-ishnesh, if you get what I mean. If you don´t you are probably not alone, hopefully you will be just as kind as the locals and just pretend anyway.

Anyway back to my little room behind the roman wall.

It seems to be the right place to be stranded. Very comfy and modern in an old house, a nice little sanctuary where processing can happen, and it is happening alright. Again dreams signal what is wanting attention in my emotional body. There is quite a bit in store a few days worth I recon. On the emotional and physical plane I am right in the healing flow/eddy I think. Who am I to doubt? ´Mea Culpa´ but I still do at times. The weather turned poorly and coolish for the next while so no need to feel I am missing out on walking in the rain.

I am learning that walking is not essential to be doing a Camino; I think I got the idea by now. Yet I would love to do more walking if I can as it is so wonderful. For the time being I will stay 3 more nights here for now before I make any long-distance walking moves at all. I will have to change hotel but that will be it. I will move tomorrow from inside the old city to outside the roman walls to the new city, less than a block away. Will be interesting to see what that shift will bring.

The Romans had a spa here and there seems to be a contemporary one next to the historical one. I am going to check that out next as an act of being kind to myself, a practice that is a challenge for me still. A practice that needs practice right now so it seems.

To Walk or not to Walk, was that a Question?

El Camino means ´the road´, but El Camino De Santiago is a concept really. Today I was forced to stop walking due to an inflammation in one leg that is not wanting to resolve with pills alone, so a forced rest of a few days. Walking or not, it is all part of El Camino. Not sure yet what this stop will bring. I choose to take the bus to a city rather than staying in a village with 2 houses and a church, specially over the weekend, as one needs to eat from time to time. I am now in Lugo a city with its entire roman(!) city walls still in place, quite amazing. Maybe I ´bussed´ myself away from solitude and basic existence and the right place to be present with the pain. Only time will tell.

The Camino Primitivo, as this leg of the Camino is called has been great. Very quiet, walking alone all day and even sleeping as the sole occupant of the very basic albergues, privideing me with the gifts of a guilt-free long hot shower and a night without poky earplugs-I don´t snore you see!

It is interesting how everyday is different, not just in scenery, but also stuff that comes up in the mind while walking and in dreams while sleeping. Issues from the past that linger in my head pop up, wanting attention. One in particular that I struggled with for years resolved with an interesting twist. It required a shift in my attitude. A shift away from ego that was possible only through a strong desire to free myself from the resentment I still carried. As ´stuff´ comes up in my mind or in dreams, I take it as a cue that the time is right to be present with it. Walking in solitude is one way of being present issues that present itself. There are many others...

Baggage, real, imagined or as a metafor gets really heavy after a while. Yet you are the one that chooses to carry it. Interesting eh! While walking for such a long time you get a chance to deside how desperately you want to hang on to it.

As a fellow pilgrim from France said, apparently told so by a three year old girl (!!!) walking the Camino with her dad; the way to Santiago is about the past, the way from Santiago is about the future. Does that mean that walking one-way is not enough? Oh boy! Not sure if you actually have to walk literally at all, although while walking El Camino can be intense. I believe my Camino started from the moment it presented itself to me as something I needed to do. It started to have an effect on me from that very moment, weather I was walking, sleeping, flying through the sky or doing something else. It had become part of my consciousness. I know for sure right now that it will not be out of my consciousness for anytime soon. So even while ´being stopped in my tracks´ I am ´walking El Camino´.

In the old days people were promised a reduction in time in purgatory by half if they walked to Santiago. Was it a get-rich-scheme invented by the leaders of the church at the time? Maybe so, maybe not. It depends how one visualises purgatory. Maybe it is a similar concept as the Bardo´s in Buddhism. Maybe pergatory represents the time spent after one´s death before recognising the tunnel of Light to Light itself (heaven, Soul, God...). Perhaps that time is prolonged when unresolved issues are present and keeps one bound to the the life that was instead of ´moving on´. Perhaps it does ´pay off´ to spend time with unresolved stuff now, while being alive and well so you can die well without struggle when time comes. Is that perhaps why we get old and left with so much time to ponder?

Hmmm I still have a few miles left to do I recon! So on that note, I better go, adios!

Taking a plunge into the deep end.

Going with the flow means sometimes taking a plunge into the deep end. I completed the Camino de Santiago leg through Aragon. Little did I know that with reaching the Aragon-Navarra border the energy on the trail would change so dramatically. Here the trail is joined by the main trail coming from France (from St.Jean Pied a Port), the one I intended to take. I am glad I got side-tracked via Lourdes onto the leg I just finished. There were only 10-15 pilgrims a day in Aragon on any given section, reaching Puenta de Reina just south of Pamplona that suddenly changed to about 200!!! The rural solitude I enjoyed is no longer there. Pilgrims race from inn to inn to secure a place for the night.

My last night was in a small inn with 7 pilgrims, next to a 12th century octagonal domed church. Hundreds visit it during the day. Tour busses unload their hordes of tourist with guides who regurgitate facts of what can be seen. None encourage the visitors to experience the essence the site has to offer. In naming facts one is mislead to believe one knows, but what is it that one knows?. The tourist chat chat chat their way around the site and hop back on the bus without being given a chance to experience Being at the site, with the site. Unlike the many pictures taken, this Being can be absorbed ito one´s Being forever and who knows maybe even taken into a next life.

The inn keeper took us to the chapel after dinner when all tourist were gone and night had fallen. With just a few candles lit, it would have been little different from 1200 years ago when the first pilgrims stayed here. We were invited to pray, meditate, just be still, whatever felt right. The inn keeper sang at the end Ave Maria in italian, which echoed around the dome with a chilling vibration. The solid, almost windowless walls felt very safe, with just one statue of Maria and Infant to focus on one can not help but be in awe and experience spiritual essence as expressed here in Spain through catholisism. This last inn on the Aragon leg of the Camino was a fitting finale of a tough but wonderful 6 days of being on El Camino Aragon.

I decide not to continue from here to Santiago but sidestep to Camoino Del Norte or Camino Primitivo. Actually I had to take a leap of faith, a plunge into the deep end as I have no maps, guidebooks etc. I walked to Puente de Reina which took about one hour where I found a bus to Bilbao north and the Guggenheim Museum. Bilbao was just awfull. The energy of the big city was a real culture shock. To see how people live stacked on top of each other disconnected from the earth was really sad, the contrast from rural and deserted Aragon could not have been more drastic. The museum was disappointing full of artistical egocentric rubbish, time to head for the Camino again. After some searching I ended up on a bus to Oviedo, no idea how and why I made that choice. It was a sudden one, with the bus leaving in 2 minutes, no time to think, no idea if this was my flow to follow. Got there at 11pm, too late to get to the albergue, so I had to look for a hotel. It was a bit expensive for me, but after getting a pilgrim´s discount I decided to take the first available room and not search any further that late at night. Just as I settled in a thunderstorm hit fearociously. Then I knew I reached the right eddy, meaning I must also be in the right flow. Is there such a thing as the wrong flow, or was I ever out of it?

From Oviedo it is only 370 KM to Santiago, a distance that I can comfortably cover in the time left without needing to get on another bus to make up for lack of time. This leg of the Camino is called El Camino Primitivo, meaning it is the original route, not necessarily a primitive one. It is apparently quiet and away from developed areas though and I found good information in English to help me organise myself better. Tomorrow I will start walking again. I am looking forward to that. The one night luxury was nice but I miss the energy of the Camino grooved into the landscape by centuries of pilgrims walking with Intend to Santiago. Tonight I happily sleep in the albergue (inn) with snoring fellow pilgrims. My guess is that on any given day at the moment -and September is high season I discovered- about 1000 pilgrims are on their way on various legs of El Camino. Everyday there are moments where I get goosebumbs when I think about it. Signs on houses, on stones, sealed symbols in pavements, well wishes from locals calling ´Buen Camino´, little piles of stones created by pigrims along the way, they are all signs of encouragement for this amazing journey for the soul called in short El Camino.

I am learning to walk in such a way that my feet absorb sufficient amounts of energy from the earth needed to propel my body into the next step. In doing so I can begin to be One with the earth, a step closer to feeling One with All. Just one second of remembering such moments of Being is enough to bring me chills and tears. What a privaledge it is to slow down.

If places could talk...

Lourdes, France would say:
Come here
Drink my water
Heal yourself
Santiago de Compostella, Spain would say:
Come here
Walk my road
Transform yourself

Singing in The rain

Where does one begin to describe all the jewels that life brings. This journey is sooo rich from the start that a few words and no images do it little justice. Once I am in Slovakia and have highspeed internet I will journal about the Camino de Santiago experience in detail on a separate blog.

For now I will just provide short updates as places with interet access are scarce at the moment. I got better after 4 days in Lourdes. Left in poring rain and arrived in Spain in a town called Jaca. So many unexpected things happened and channeled me in the right direction. Before I knew it I realised I was on the Camino de Santiago, but at a different location than planned. Planning has from now on gone out the window. Going on without a plan is much better and it allows the flow to hit me, pick me up and take me for the ride of my life really. I have just completed my fifth day of walking of about 800 km. After a tough start with jelly legs, a left over from days of fever, I got stronger each day, found my pace, connected to the earth I was walking on during day 3. I started walking with my brain in charge I now let my feet, and the energy from the earth that enters my body through the chackras under my feet, determine the pace. When I do that all goes well! After the first day of doing that my brain let go and I finally slept deeply for the first time since weeks. Being on the Camino is an amazing experience that I will tell more about in detail after 23 October. Adios for now.

Legs Going Jelly

Between 11am and 3pm fever hits hard and legs become jelly. All energy gets sapped out of me and all I can do is rest horizontally. The fever is located in the head it seems, at least that is where I feel it most. I am quite happy to surrender. Instead of heading for the start of El Camino de Santiago I went to Lourdes. Did not plan to go here as I heard and read so many negative thoughts about the place lately. I am so glad I am here. Enjoying my time in bed and when fever subsides I go to the sanctuaries, to just be and film (lots). I was raised as a catholic, but I am not here as a catholic. Yet I feel very connected with the energy of the place. I believe in the healing qualities of water specially spring and blessed water. The warter here is both. Even if no miracle ever happened here in the past, it certainly is an energised place. So many millions invest positive energy in this place that that alone is special and for me noticably radiating back. I pray here in my own way, surrender and heal amzingly fast. Glandular fever takes months to get over. I see great improvements every day. The rituals/processions that are performed here daily are at a grand scale. That is all very much part of the ego of the religion that drives this place in my experience. Nevertheless it is great subject matter for my filming, but the personal rituals at the site of the claimed miracle are most touching and humbling to observe and have great value in my eyes. That is where many people surrender, cry, let go of ego, even if it is just for a split second sometimes. That is a privaledge to witness and for me hopefull. It encourages me to do the same. That is the gift of having fallen ill. I would otherwise never have come here and witnessed this. It is in many ways just like Daramsala in India where the Dalai Lama resides. Both places are riddled with commercial distractions that can make it difficult to experience the essence of such a place. In Daramsala it took me two days to see beyond that. Here in Lourdes I was prepared and connected immediately. I will talk later more about the qualities of the water when I have relevant information at hand. For now... I am getting ready to move on, out of the way of bad weather and heading for cheaper Spain. I am ready to move on, so I like to think. Time will tell. I wont be walking anytime soon I think, but will follow the Camino anyway.


There are five of us
One in Switzerland
One in New Zealand
Three in The Netherlands
Last night we dined together
The time before that was 4 years ago
It felt like last week...

I have left New Zealand and started actual travelling. One thing that is clear about this journey is that I am not in çontrol. I did want to learn to go with the flow, little did I expect the flow to take control over this journey so thouroughly and even before I left. Tomorrow I am flying to the South of France to begin an 800 KM walk along the ancient El Camino de Santiago de Compostella in north-western Spain, so I thought. Glandular fever got hold of me the last few days, triggered by pre-departure stresses of dealing with possesions (selling property, storing stuff, shedding stuff, dealing with banking, and all sorts of bureaucratic systems one becomes part of in regular life). It is so much harder to entangle oneself than say 20 years ago. Anyway, no way will I be able to begin my pilgrimage with fever sapping my energy. I will fly to France from Holland tomorrow as booked and see what this forced-slow-down will bring. It is interesting that I choose to write about this unexpected turn of events, maybe because this effects my physical well being which is easier to write about that other forms of well-being. It will ceratinly be a challenge. I am anxious about it yet I welcome it too and will keep observing. All changes regarding this journey had very good reasons for being so far, often only in hindsight. I hope to uncover the reason for the fever as well in due time. I will not be able to post images untill I reach my artist-in-residency location in Slovakia on 23 October. Posting text without images feels a bit incomplete to me, but I may be tempted. Otherwise, till October. Thanks for being present, Marcel

Embryonic Flight

Embryonic Flight

Every morning
Eyes would wake
Gazing at the same wall
But that day
They saw
Image on the wall
Lit by the rising sun
Peeping through the curtain
For a fleeting moment
What needed to be see

A plane
From the ocean floor
Where it once sank
A wreck
Coming to life
Still crusted
With attachments

Letting go of Last Ashes

Stills from video:
Letting go of last ashes, Titahi Bay, New Zealand 13/8/06

Letting go of last ashes
Taken by wind
Given to the waves
Of what we loved together
Bubble, our dog
As we were
Without growth we could not be
We let go
To catch the wind
To ride the waves
Before love died
Before we died
Without rebirth
There is only death
Out of love
New life is born
Life is born!

Profile update and archive

Airborne over the Tasman Sea, Oceania.

The last two weeks I traveled in Australia to get some rest, sun and inspiration/cue's about what to do once I leave my home and head for Europe. It seemed that where ever I went I discovered synchronicities that provided important cue's about what to do next, either for immediate moments, such as where to travel or stay, or for the near future after leaving New Zealand early September. Quite an amazing humbling experience that was very encouraging. I feel I have literally and figuratively moved and shifted. I wanted to update my profile to reflect the subtle changes that have taken place.

UPDATED PROFILE VERSION 2,updated 9 August 2006:

Through this artist’s journal I invite you to come on a journey with me, an artist’s quest for wholeness. I wish it to be a pilgrimage of sorts in search of Self, guided by the dreams of my soul.

Art engages the power of imagination and inspiration, forces that precede the transformation of dreams into reality. My dream is to transform my life. Till now I have been doing well in leading a life of ‘doing’. I wish to transform my life of ‘doing’ into a life of ‘being’, of being well and wellbeing.

To make way for the new the old must die as without death, rebirth cannot take place. A life challenging illness or condition can signal the need for a rebirth as a means to avert a premature physical death. My body did just that three years ago.

Since then I have been gradually deconstructing my life, reducing stress, possessions, commitments and constructs that constrained my life, my health and my connection with Soul. Now that I have sold my house and completed work obligations I can leave familiar life and environment and set out on a transformational quest for wholeness, exploring new realms of being, through art. I will be documenting my explorations in soft pastel, video/sound and writing.

The video will include the story of an interesting rebirth of Swiss artist Teo Baba, which will be filmed in Europe and Asia. His life story, which I came across in 2001, was the first signpost directing me towards my journey. I have been awarded an artist-in-residency in Sturovo, Slovakia (October 06-April 07) to work on this video.

But first I will begin with a pilgrimage and walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostella, (St. James’ Way) in Northern Spain. This 800 km (500 mile) walk will take about 30 days, time I feel I need to slow down, reflect and begin to adjust to the way of being I am aspiring to.

I will be posting text and images regularly. Your presence as a witness will be much appreciated. I welcome comments of any kind. I hope you will find this blog of interest. Marcel Baaijens

Unless specified otherwise, all images and text are by Marcel Baaijens.


I am in the process of making major changes to my life as I created it. Re-incarnation without the need for physically dying. Hoping to change habits, edit old 'scripts', seeing life in a different light. Exploring the soul I am rather than the ego I developed. Evaluating what is essential and what I no longer need for the next stage of my life.

I am going on a journey, literally traveling a lot, but more importantly I intend it to be an inner spiritual journey, a pilgrimage of sorts.

I will be documenting this journey here on this site and on video. Making video will be an important aspect of the journey. It is not just a documentation tool, but it will serve as a meditative, contemplative, spiritual practice. A practice of observing, 'being with' the subject matter, being still. I will also be working on a video project for which I need to travel to certain locations around the world. I have been awarded an artist-in-residency in Sturovo-Estergom, on the Slovak-Hungarian border (October 06-April 07) to work on this project.

I hope you will find this blog of interest, Marcel Baaijens

New Bridge, off the Beaten Track

Image:Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
Broken bridge forcing halt
Demanding stubborn ego surrender
Quietly asking soul direction
Brain doing overtime
Could not hear
Could not see
Will I ever know
How to exit the road to Athens

Daylight dream shedding light
Stirring emotions from unknown depth
Loudly sobbing soul direction
Brain slowing down
To see
To hear
To forever know
What was wished for all along

A new crossing found
The creek was dry

Test of Flow, Queensland, Australia

Image:Mongrove, Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia

Edgy, restless, agitated
Did nice things, no satisfaction
Ate nice things, no satisfaction
Ego at a loss
What about soul?
Breathe in
Breathe out
I remembered
Doing nothing in the sun
Music in my ear
In minor, on repeat, ‘by accident’
Like a day dream
Metaphors flashed
Three stained glass windows in the distance
After a long pilgrimage
The beauty of a sacred destination
Triggering sobs
Sobbed some more
Surrendered I suppose
Releasing emotions from unknown depths and times
Relieved to let go
Drifting along
A little lighter

Bones Survive, Pilgrimage in Search of Self 2

Image: Looking out the window from the plane into the dark night.

Procrustean dismemberment* of self

I was little
Yet I knew
In my bones

A ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
Confused me utterly
Into silence

Don’t they know?
Can’t they see?
Can’t they tell?

Must I choose?
I bit the bullet, I was a ‘good’ little boy!


* See comment 1

Mirror, mirror on the wall? Pilgrimage in Search of Self 1

Image: Two young trees protected by plastic covers glowing in the sunset, en-route between Launceston and Tullah, Tasmania.

I followed
I followed a fellow
I followed a fellow traveler’s path

I had to change direction
I had to change
I had to

Along the Road to Athens, Melbourne, Australia

Image: Point of departure.

Molding grid
Moving people squarly

Towering buildings dwarfing people
Traffic masking natural sounds humans make
Trash tossed like signatures of ego

Hippest fashion
Hottest fast food
Highest people

Seven-Eleven, McDonalds, Target
Souls forsaken
Searching among the lost

What country?
Which identity?

Procrustean dismemberment*

Down under
Did I land
Did I?

Loafs and Fishes or Couch

Image: video still, buddhist monk churning yak butter tea during a festival. Hamis, Ladakh, India

Providing nurishment for people in the form of food and drink is one way to bring people together and build community. For me such unconditional actions of compassion melt any armour I may carry imagined or real (tense muscles, fear, closed mind/heart). I have been fortunate to witness various 'soup' kitchens in action such as the ones at:

1. The Compassion Centre in Wellington, New Zealand operated by the Sisters of Compassion with the help of volunteers and donations from the community, this soup kitchen is more that 100 years old. They serve breakfast and dinner 6 days a week, for more than 100 people per day.
2. The Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India, where an impressive 10,000 pilgrims are fed daily with tea or dalh and chapati's, as far as I know all run by volunteers.
3. The festival in Hamis, Ladakh, India (see image above) where tea and rice are provided for hundreds if not throusands attendees of the festival.

I could barely drink the salty yak butter tea as it makes me gag, but just hanging out in the tea room and witnessing the whole event was as heart warming as the steaming hot tea in this ancient and cold himalayan monastery. The festival was attended by the locals as well as hunderds of tourists who were there trophey hunting with their fancy camera's, literally fighting over the best vantage points. Very few dared to wander away from the spectacular and colourful dance preformances by the monks in the courtyard of the gompa(monastary). Most tourists missed out on the free gift of compassion in the form of yak butter tea. It was not necessary for me to taste the tea in order to taste the gift. I was brave and had a sip, and put up with the reflexes of my body, a small sacrifice for the privaledge of taking communion.

We are not all cut out to feed random strangers/travelers/homeless people/pilgrims in small or large numbers, or are we... what is stopping us from exersizing this practice that is promoted by so many cultures and religions? Too scary...? Well here is an enjoyable way to make a difference in your life and in the world, not for the sake of rescueing people but for the sake of building community, promoting compassion and kindness through authentic practice. What comes around goes around, just like a merry-go-round, remember those when you were a kid?.

I have joined Couchsurfing.com an online community where travelers and hosts can find eachother so they can enjoy receiving and giving hospitality (a couch, bed, meal, coffee at home or in town) as a gift, as a guesture of acceptance, of peace. Why, because the most expensive, luxurious hotel cannot offer the authentic gift of hospitality and sense of connection.

Discrimination is founded in fear for the unknown and fear of the (perceived) differences as observed in others as expressed though their cultures. Maybe we fear that we will lose 'ourselves' when surrounded by those who we believe to be different.

Couchsurfing/hosting is one way to discover close up and in a very personal way that we are fundamentally all the same, that it is quite OK to be different, that difference is not a threat to one's existence, and that any fears we may have of difference is unfounded.

At this 'grass root' level we can begin to experience friendships and peace, bring balance to a world living in fear, begin talking positively about others and other cultures. Many leaders in the world make us believe that being different equals evil, only others are evil, we possibly can't be. This perceived evil is the excuse used by so many nations to justify destructive wars and acts of terrorism.

We all have the power and ability to contribute to world peace, one by one we can make a difference, one couch, bed, floor space, meal, coffee at a time. Once or maybe more than once a year or even once a month. One day we may be able to elect the leaders we deserve. Leaders are born out of communities. What kind of community and leadership do we want? Who, or whose permission for action do we wait for?

Legacy of a French Stowaway

Suzanne Aubert, photo courtesey of the Sisters of Compassion.

Suzanne Aubert, born in 1835 in France, died 1926 in New Zealand. Left France against the will of parents and clergy, but with an iron will of her own. When she died, her funeral was the biggest ever seen ‘Down Under’! Why?

She was quite a remarkable woman who was a pioneer with a Great Spirit and strong faith. She started the catholic order of the Sisters of Compassion, who still exist today. In Wellington they established the Compassion Centre, which houses the well known, more than a century old 'Soup Kitchen'. For the past 5 years it also housed the Studio-Gallery of Art Compass, a charitable trust I established to support talented artists with intellectual disabilities. Today was my last day at the centre.

Suzanne Aubert chose and created a different life for herself without the permission, support or encouragement from her family or community. She moved as a single woman to a foreign country in an era where such a choice would be frowned upon. I am an immigrant myself but a male who moved to New Zealand under very favourable circumstances compared to hers. I had a vision that became Art Compass, but I would never have succeeded had it not been for the support from the Sisters of Compassion who are continuing the legacy of Suzanne Aubert.

Where does one begin to express the gratitude for the various forms of your generous support that Art Compass and myself received from the sisters? It has been such a privilege to be part of the Compassion Centre, it’s community and it’s mission. Little did I know about the work and philosophies of Suzanne Aubert. I could not have wished for a better and more wonderful and appropriate place to work on my vision.

Suzanne Aubert had a disability herself. Her philosophy about how to provide and support people with disabilities echoed mine; only she was 100 years ahead of me. Her legacy has touched my life, my work, and through the work of Art Compass so many more.

It is time for me to move on and I am looking forward to opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, but I leave Art Compass and the Compassion Centre with great sadness.

The faith, dedication, openness, kindness, inclusiveness and compassion of the sisters are inspirational to say the least, and will be an encouragement for the rest of my life to remain mindful and aspire to integrate such qualities in my life.

Reels of Life Past

Image: discarded 8mm family films

Reels of life past
Watching the dead
Alive again
Yet mute
No heartbeat
Just a rattling reel

Struggling then
Knowing now
The unknown future
From the past

Had I known
I needed no fear
I would not

Brain Works

Image: self portrait July 06

With a strong right hemispheric dominance and strong visual preference, I am very likely to fit into most people's stereotype of an artist. I tend to perceive the whole, respond to patterns, overlook differences and seek diversity. I deal with material randomly and intuitively, and I tend to find symbolism everywhere.
For me categories are temporary, created and re-created as events unfold. Thus learning can be unlearned more rapidly when needed. This implies that I continuously adapt to new situations and find differences in situations that others may not notice. My learning style is naturally dynamic and flexible yet not totally chaotic.

Organisation may not be my forte and I am likely to perceive it at times as constricting while recognising the benefits that come from structure. While capable of being logical, I respond to my own inner directed-ness(intuition) which is often not explainable, not even to myself, since it requires sophisticated left-brain translation. I have a tendency to become more involved with the abstract (symbolism) in seeking out relationships and arriving at answers. More than most other people, I am self-directed and skilled at moving easily from project to project.

My visual preference implies that I am active and continuously seeking or processing. I tend not to categorise experiences, but rather simply have them and react to them, integrating it into the whole of my experiences. My best learning style is to see materials and relationships as with charts and graphs and retain them easily. However, if asked questions, I find my access blocked since the input mode is auditory and runs counter to my strengths. I can help myself my drawing pictures while I take notes, to use my visual talents.

Overall I will do well in endeavors emphasising the visual such as arts, fashion, or architecture said the website where I found out about how my brian works. I trained as an architect and artist! Reading this was such an eye opener and assisted me in understanding why I do things differently from so many others.

Clutter Chain

Image: video still gompa interior, Ladakh, India, 2005

Once assets
Once precious
Once future
Once progress

Change of path
Change of needs
Change of meaning
Change of value

Cost of clutter
Cost of cutting
Cost of clinging
Cost of chain

Door White Open

Image video still: Devotee leaving after spinning a giant prayer wheel, Hemis, Ladakh, India, 2005

A dark shadowy room
A gigantic spinning wheel
Heavy as
Well-used not very well-oiled

An old devotee
Effort and determination
Moving on

Beautiful bright white light
Like the tunnel
When passing over
Testing faith

Letting go
No-one promised
No-one asked
I chose

A hard week leaving shadow
A vision
Stepping through
A door

A new realm
Going about

An old wheel
A shadowy room
A devotee
A door that will open
A few more spins...

Shadow of Face

Watercolour by Teo Baba, altered by Marcel Baaijens

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of loss, losing past

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of death, dying slow

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of fear, fearing love

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of doubt, doubting love

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of hurt, hurting hope

A hard week leaving shadow
Shadow of face, facing broken bridge


I have just created a new blog of a publication by Art Compass a charitable trust I established in 2001 to provide support for talented artists with intellectual disabilities. At the moment I am in the process of closing down the trust as we ran out of funding due to lack of government support. To mark the closing of the wonderful studio and galllery we had and to celebrate the achievements of the artists (participants and staff) we published a book called 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt'. Our opening publication was called 'Until Proven'. Visual language is the first language for most of the artists, we have kept written language to a minimum in this publication.

I am in the midst of packing up and cleaning the studio. It is a sad task, quite depressing at times as the studio was a magic and energetic place. I have to remind myself that when one cycle ends a new one will be born. This image of a monk cleaning is a reminder to accept the task I have to do (since I find it hard to do with enthousiasm or joy, the alternative modes of operating according to Eckhart Tolle).

Visitors from Space

Image: compilation of video stills. People from Delhi walking in the Himalaya's in rented fur coats, 2005.

I am humbled and intrigued by the many people visiting my blog. I would love to recieve feedback about what makes you visit this blog, and what you were searching for at the time, thanks Marcel

Flags of Freedom

Image: video still, Tibetan Prayer Flags, Ladakh, India, 2005.

Wind plays
Wind decays
Wind prays
Free to go

Defining Identity

Image: video still 'De Molen' (Dutch for 'The Mill') Foxton, New Zealand.

Flags identify
Friend or foe

Flags identify
Ego territory

Different flags
Same wind
Same mill

I'd love to be flag free